A recent survey asked CEOs to name the employee who more often leads the company in the area of tech innovation. Their answer? Hint: It’s not the head of IT.
Can a CEO really be a tech innovator? Plenty appear to believe they can and they aren’t shy about admitting it.
A recent survey from the analysts at Gartner found that not only do Chief Executives believe they’re leading the technological breakthroughs and change in their firms, they’re adamant the transformation isn’t coming from either their CIO or the folks in finance.
When Gartner asked who leads innovation in their firms, approximately one-third of the CEOs selected themselves. After that, a wide variety of executive and senior management leaders were named, however CIOs were rarely identified, and CFOs were never identified.
Should company leaders be concerned that tech innovations aren’t coming from the folks responsible for making them happen?
Probably not. After all, it’s the CEO who’s keeping the overall picture and direction of the organization front and center.
And most CEO appear to be willing to invest in tech to move their firm ahead.
The economy’s a concern, but …
While the economy is certainly a concern for chief executives, the survey results showed by a ratio of more than two to one that CEOs said they will increase IT investment in 2012, rather than cut it.
“The intention to invest in technology is comparatively healthy,” said Jorge Lopez, vice president and analyst at Gartner. “The newer trends, such as mobile and cloud, are rising to the foreground of CEO’s attention. However, CRM remains CEOs’ favorite IT capability because marketing is a never-ending competitive quest for customer retention.”
Gartner analysts believe the problem with investing in newer technologies for strategic reasons is that organizations need the right kinds of leadership and change management. Many business leaders learned the hard way in the 1990s and 2000s that simply buying and installing technology doesn’t deliver results if it’s carefully paired with changes to policies, processes, organization, roles and culture.
“More purposeful, structured innovation management could be one way to make technology investments pay off,” Mr. Raskino said. “We see strong CEO intention toward improving it in most sectors, but not in financial services — where, perhaps, regulatory compliance is simply overwhelming all other strategic change thinking.”
The Gartner survey found that 90% of CEOs could name a company they admire for its use of IT in gaining a competitive advantage, but when restricted to their own industry, a quarter cannot. Apple easily eclipsed everyone as the most admired company for its use of IT, as it accounted for 39% of the responses. Google was second with 11% share, followed by Amazon at 5.8%.
Who’s leading tech innovation in your organization? Who should be?